One of the first things I do every day is check out what’s happening on LinkedIn. It’s such a great resource for advice and networking in our industry. One of the things I found this morning, however, was just a big fat lie.
“There is still time to sponsor our unique event!”
Okay, so it’s not an intentional lie, but that still doesn’t make it true. I had a look. They are trying to sell sponsorship for a music tour that has already started. Good luck to them, and to all of the sponsorship seekers posting all of those “there is still time…” sales pleas on LinkedIn. As powerful as social media is, what these people really need is a wand.
Here’s the thing: Just because the tour isn’t over doesn’t mean there is still time to for a sponsor to invest. Same goes for all of you sponsorship seekers out there. Your sponsorship sales window doesn’t end when the event starts (or ends), or when you launch, or when you get too busy on operational stuff to keep selling. It ends when there is no longer enough lead-time for the sponsor to plan and implement a strong leverage program before you launch. You don’t control the lead-time required. Sponsors do.
When you sell sponsorship, you are selling opportunity, not results. Leverage is what a sponsor does with that opportunity to create results against their overall marketing objectives. It encompasses consumer and trade promotions, online activity, staff programs, media and retail promotions, on-site activity, and so much more. All of this takes time to plan – sometimes a lot of time – and then it all has to be implemented.
While the actual timeframe can vary drastically from one company to another, typically, a company will need at least a few months to get a leverage plan in place for a mid-size sponsorship.
There is always the exception that makes the rule. In this case, that’s if you are really selling on-site sales rights (eg, exclusive beer pourage for your festival). You may call it “sponsorship”, but the brewer will consider it simply buying sales. It works because of a simple dollar equation – investment vs profit – and requires no leverage, because it’s not really about larger marketing goals.
For all you need to know about sponsorship sales and servicing, you may want to get a copy of The Sponsorship Seeker’s Toolkit 4th Edition. You may also be interested in my latest white paper, “Disruptive Sponsorship: Like Disruptive Marketing, Only Better“.
If you need additional assistance, I offer sponsorship consulting and strategy sessions, sponsorship training, and sponsorship coaching. I also offer a comprehensive sponsorship capacity-building service for large, diverse, and decentralised organisations.
Please feel free to drop me a line to discuss.
Please note, I do not offer a sponsorship broker service, and can’t sell sponsorship on your behalf. You may find someone appropriate on my sponsorship broker registry.